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Arts Council-funded film accepted into major American festival

Friday, 9 May 2014


An Isle of Man Arts Council-funded film has been accepted into the United States’ biggest film festival. 

‘Closet’ is a product of local filmmaking scheme MannIN Shorts

Developed by Dave Armstrong and Christy De Haven of DAM Productions IOM and Phil Gates of Sonic Productions, MannIN Shorts provides a platform for hopeful filmmakers of any age to build skills, develop ideas and make films. 

The Arts Council has funded it to make three films annually since it was formed. In 2013, Isle of Man Film also began funding it. 

Closet is a forbidden love story set in a brutal comprehensive school and unfurls around a wardrobe that appears on a desolate beach. Events threaten to turn tragic, but then something inexplicable happens. 

Manx actors Will Sutton, Warren Spencer and Edward Crompton star in the 11-minute film, which is produced by Debs Gwinnell and directed by Chris Gore. 

The film was shown at the Broadway Cinema as part of the 2103 Isle of Man Film Festival. It was screened at the Boston LGBT film festival, which is one of the biggest gay film festivals in the world. It’s acceptance into the Seattle festival, which runs from 15 May to 8 June, is a major coup. 

The festival is in its 40th year and is the largest and best-attended film festival in the United States, attracting more than 150,000 people. 

The 20-day event is renowned for its wide-ranging and eclectic programming, presenting more than 250 features and 150 short films from more than 70 countries each year. 

Geoff Corkish MBE MLC, Chairman of the Arts Council, said:

‘This level of achievement is exactly what we had hoped for from MannIN Shorts and, having seen the quality of the short films produced by the scheme, this exposure is well-deserved. 

‘The Arts Council wholeheartedly supports initiatives like this that provide opportunities for our local creative industries and a platform not only for development but also for international recognition. Congratulations to the team behind Closet. We wish them well for future festivals and films.’ 

John Craine, screenwriter and director of photography for Closet, said:

‘We are absolutely delighted that the film has been selected to be part of such an important and high-profile festival. It's a testament to the hard work and talent of the entire cast and crew who put their blood sweat and tears into making Closet. I couldn't be more proud of the team.’ 

Christy De Haven of MannIN Shorts said:

‘We were thrilled to hear about Closet's selection into such a prestigious international festival. It's testament not only to John Craine's writing abilities and cinematographic style, but is also superb encouragement to those within MannIN Shorts – especially those new filmmakers who had the opportunity to train on the shoot alongside seasoned professionals such as designer Lynda Reiss, who just recently finished work on the hit HBO drama True Detective.’ 

For more information about MannIN Shorts, visit their website For more information about Arts Council funding visit or phone +44 1624 694598.   

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